Archive for November 16th, 2019|Daily archive page

The Collaboration Diary 6

Last entry: The Collaboration Diary 5

After our first full-day session bashing out scope and structure, there was a bit of a hiatus. We had as ‘homework’ to each write our first 5 short pieces. We chose themes from our list (Buckets) and went our separate ways. I read relevant stuff (e.g. Rory Sutherland’s Alchemy, my collaborator Doug’s previous book Collaborative Working Pocketbook) and thought about the task. But I didn’t set pen to paper until the weekend before the second get-together/half-day session on the Monday (last Monday 11th). 

But that helped. It kept me focused. It gave me bursts of energy.

On Saturday I sat down to mark the blank sheet.

I picked the 5th topic on my list – Listening. It spoke to me because Enfant Terrible No.2 had sent me the previous day a photo from his lecture at UWE in Bristol, from his Paramedic Science course, of a Powerpoint slide about Listening and Empathy which had struck a chord with him. I used that as the springboard for a 1st person piece about the central importance of Listening in Collaboration.

It took me half an hour to write (the target 300-400 words). I went off for a short coffee break. Came back and wrote a second piece on Authenticity. That took me more like an hour.

On the Sunday I wrote two more. I didn’t write a 5th because I was happy with the first four and didn’t want to make it a chore. I sent them to Doug on Sunday night, having suggested we each read the other’s work before meeting.

I read Doug’s pieces and marked them up for the 2nd session on the Monday at the Royal College of GPs. We started the session by throwing down a quick agenda which we them worked through systematically. In so doing we addressed some big stuff…

Doug was uncertain about our working title – he had tested it on a few people and felt it wasn’t quite striking a chord. We discussed what was wrong or missing , concluded it was too narrow and added “&” and a second adjective to get something that hit the right note for us both.

We talked about the positioning of the book, the difference between Collaboration and Team-Work, and how to make our book distinctive. We felt the new title (as the old had done) captured a sense of a particular, original approach. We also spent some time debating a definition of Collaboration Doug had read and liked. We edited it a bit together and decided to make it the touchstone for the Manifesto that would be our opening. We are each going to write a version of the Manifesto and then combine them.

At 11 o’clock we stopped to observe the silence for Remembrance Day

join hands siouxsie and the banshees album lp vinyl cover design

We looked at the work we had done on structure and felt it was reasonably sound and an easy step from our Buckets document to a neat Structure document for the Proposal.

Item 3 on the agenda was a mutual “critique” as Doug put it. That was very civilised. He wanted to push me beyond the 1st person singular/personal perspective I had adopted – possibly too narrow? I encouraged him to avoid extended metaphors, neat turns of phrase where the sound overrode the sense and to include more concrete examples so the text didn’t feel too abstract. We agreed to be wary of imperative tones.

Finally we discussed the path forward through publishers, both the one Doug has been discussing this book with and other options. He was very disciplined in not making our final submission too early but to keep shaping and refining our (not particularly conventional) approach until the new year.

We concluded by setting our ‘homework’ before the next session and fixing a date in December. Doug has more time to write this month, I don’t so will probably end up leaving my homework until Sunday night just like the good old days.

It was another very satisfying, focused and productive session – shorter than last time, a half-day.

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